Simon Sports in Birmingham Acquires Halifax Mooseheads Junior Hockey Team
The Halifax Mooseheads junior hockey team is now owned by Simon Sports in Birmingham.
// Courtesy of Halifax Mooseheads
Simon Sports, a division of Simon Group Holdings in Birmingham, has acquired the Halifax Mooseheads hockey team, which plays in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sam Simon, founder and chairman of Simon Group Holdings, a diversified holding company that includes Atlas Oil in Taylor and interests in aerospace and defense, insurance, real estate, wine, and more, purchased an 85 percent stake in the team from Bobby Smith, a former forward with the Montreal Canadians who acquired the team in 2003.
The team was founded in 1994 by the Oland family and Moosehead Breweries.
“When we came to this community, I’ve got to tell you we fell in love with it,” says Simon, whose son, Peter, is the President of Simon Sports. “The people, the fans, the community, you guys have a beautiful place. And the Mooseheads, everybody loves them and it’s a community team.”
Smith is expected to assist the Simon family going forward as a consultant. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is one of three sub leagues of the Canadian Hockey League.
“He’s going to have to help us a little bit, guide us along, show us around,” Simon says. “This is not my team, it’s the community’s team, so I want to make sure I will be a good steward for everyone here.
“(Smith is going to) be with me for a few more years. He’s going to have to help us a little bit, guide us along, (and) show us around.”
During his tenure as owner, Smith says: “Every season has been enjoyable, to watch these young players improve, form lifelong friendships, and reach their potentials.”
For several years, Simon has been looking to acquire a sports team, and was close to buying the Detroit Pistons two decades ago. With his twin sons now entering Simon Group Holdings — his other son, Michael, is close to graduating from college — the family will be active in overseeing the Mooseheads.
“We’ll be back and forth but I think the city will see, and the community will see, and the team will see that we’re very hands-on people,” says Peter Simon, who holds a degree in sports management.
“We’re very involved and we want to make sure that we’re doing the right thing. We want to make sure that we’re doing a good job, and that we’re good stewards for the team. But we’ll also be very visible, not only with the Mooseheads, but also with community events. We want to be part of the community.”
The Mooseheads won the league’s President’s Cup and the Memorial Cup in 2013. In the current season, the team sits atop the Maritimes Division with a record of 39-9-4-3 (85 points), and have a clinched a spot in the upcoming playoffs.
“We’ll be listening to our coaches and we’re going to listen to our GM, nothing’s going to change,” says Sam Simon. “The only thing I will change is how can we add more into making it better? With my business strategies and my ideas, they will see there’s a lot more we can do here.
“The fans have been awesome, but you will see a big difference. We’re going to bring in a lot more tools and a lot more ideas. We’ve got to support our fans much better.”
Simon Sports, a sports investment firm and management group, was founded in 2022.
Last September, the company became the league founding members of the new West Coast Junior Hockey League. Play is scheduled to start in late 2024 or early 2025 and consist of six teams — three in California, two in Nevada, and one in Arizona — and will be affiliated or have support from National Hockey League clubs in the western United States.